The Ottumwa Courier

Columns

April 9, 2012

Donna's dilema

Browsing Around

OTTUMWA — Ever had someone say, “I thought you died” to you?

I don’t think it’s happened to me but my cousin, Donna Toopes Kearney of Newton, called and told me it happened to her, and she hasn’t even been sick.

Donna said she knew the “town crier” who said it. But the town crier couldn’t remember who told her the “sad news” about Donna.

It’s truly puzzling for a dead person to hear this kind of news. At first the person is sad no one told them they’re dead.

Next comes the insult of not knowing what brought this life to an end. It’s an insult because they’re just sure they could change the result if given half a chance.

Yes, folks, I’m having some fun with this. Donna did call and asked me if I would put something in my column to let folks know she’s alive and well in Newton.

“It would be like a reverse obituary,” she said,  and we both laughed.

After Donna’s call, I wondered if someone was confusing Donna with her mother, my Aunt Laura McGrath, who was in a nasty car accident a few years ago. She received multiple injuries, and her family feared she wouldn’t survive.

But Aunt Laura is still here to tell the story, and so is Cousin Donna. I’m very thankful.

While we were on the phone, Donna and I came up with the same famous quote for this situation. Mark Twain said it many years ago after his cousin had been sick and a newspaper printed Twain’s obituary.

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” Twain said.

Well, Donna Marie, I hope this helps. Town criers don’t always read newspapers, but I can keep hoping.

I don’t know if Mark Twain is one of Donna’s favorite writers, but he’s on my list. In searching for the famous quote, I found more Twain remarks:

• Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

• Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

• Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.

• Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

• Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.

For more interesting quotes go online to: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/mark_twain_2.html

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